Multiple weekend screenings of "The Legend of Boggy Creek" brought hundreds of the influential documentary film's avid fans out to the Fouke Monster Festival on Saturday inside the town's community center.
Pamula Pierce Barcelou, daughter of the late Charles B. Pierce who produced and directed this surprise hit classic from 1972, spoke for at least an hour to a captive audience. "At the time, my dad was heavily influenced by not only Walt Disney productions, but also the "Wild Kingdom" TV show during that time," Barcelou said. "It started off as a small regional film, but its popularity really took off all over the country. While it was first classified as a documentary, it was later became reclassified as a horror favorite and it eventually wound up being known as 'the little movie that could.'"
Upon finding a 35-millimeter celluloid print copy of the film in December of 2017 possessed by the British Film Institute in England, Barcelou said she was eventually able to get a Blu-ray copy made of the original print, adding that the Blu-ray version may eventually be put on the commercial market later this year.
Barcelou added that it cost about $15,000 to restore the film's color cinematography as well as another $15,000 to restore its sound — particularly of the creature's hideous screech during the film's opening. She added that the monster costume, produced in California, had been modeled after a guerrilla suit.
Barcelou went on to say that her favorite part in the documentary was her part as she, along with a couple of other kids, summoned her mom outdoors to help the find the creature who they recently discovered but were baffled by. A rediscovery of the furry creature a short time later sent both the horrified mom and the kids fleeing the scene.
Barcelou further added that her father filmed the movie in portions — starting in about the fall of 1971 and finishing it in the spring of 1972 — before getting the film released in about August 1972.
"The scene that I was in was shot in the spring of '72," she said.
Following her presentation, Barcelou autographed movie posters presented to her by streams of "Boggy Creek" fans.
Former Miller County Chief Sheriff's Deputy Tommy Hollin, who also served for a time as a Justice of the Peace, said he grew up in Genoa, Ark., and remembers being in his late 20s when the film premiered in 1972.
"It never really surprised me that the movie would turn out to be as popular as it was," Hollin, now 76, said. "To this day, people are still talking about the bigfoot monster and as long as people talk about something it will be popular."
Texarkana, Texas. Resident Paul Eldridge agreed.
"I was born here and I remembered it being a big deal when the film came out," he said. "I thought it as actually more interesting than scary since it was shot in a documentary style."
The movie will be shown at the Perot Theatre at noon, 3 p.m., and 6 p.m. today.
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